For the second week of the Writeathon I was thinking about the topics a lot and after reading the question “Which company or start-up inspires you the most and why?” I couldn't think about a specific start-up that really inspired me because in my time I have worked on the internet, many start-ups turned out to be only investment driven and got sold as soon as they had some value. I am not in for that kind of start-up culture, since I love to support ideas and projects meant to change peoples lives and not be hustled as soon as possible.
But thinking about company-like structures that impress and inspire me then it is Open Source maintainers and contributors. Actually the whole Open Source culture.
The tech industry is dominated by hustle-culture, 6-figures-in-one-year, become-a-millionaire-before-30. As someone who is not in here for the money but the education, knowledge and learning new skills, this never spoke to me. Quite the opposite—it made me feel unwelcomed. For me, it seemed like a soulless money making machine where everyone hated their job but liked their pay cheque too much to quit it. Then I got to know the Open Source scene.
Cut out money as the main motivation
I met people who contributed to projects without payment. Just because they wanted that project to exist and thrive. People that willingly taught me skills and knowledge that I couldn't have got otherwise or only with big efforts. I met people working in FAANG in their main job, but working on Open Source in their free time, sharing knowledge and wisdom to everyone no matter of their job and education status.
The one goal everyone has in common is the project. To make the project the best it can be. Everyone is bringing in their skills and knowledge they have. And everything happens without anyone rolling their eyes and saying “I am not getting paid enough to do it.” It is so refreshing. Cutting out money as the main motivation to participate creates such a healthy and inspiring work climate.
At the very beginning when I was still very insecure with my coding skills, I would participate with ideas, logic structures, graphical work, and copy writing. I would be the motivational person saying “Let's go, let's do this.” and drive progress forward. I often felt bad because I could not contribute a lot to the code yet, it took me some time to realize that having good ideas and unconventional solutions for problems can be just as much of a help as actual coding work.
Not only that, but I later started to design sites and build up their CSS. The amount of coding work I helped on became more and more, and I am building up more confidence doing things on my own as well. Helping to work on Open Source is probably the one main reason for me to keep going learning, so I can keep improving to help at projects.
Photo by ThisIsEngineering: pexels.com/photo/female-software-engineer-c..
Open Source is the foundation of many established services
In the OSSRA report 2022 Synopsis looked into 2400 codebases within 17 industries and 97% of them contained Open Source. Over the past years it has been steadily high with a peak 2019 of 99%.
The Internet and IT-landscape we know now wouldn't be possible without Open Source.
I asked people on Twitter why they love Open Source
I have asked people on Twitter, why they love Open Source and I got a ton of really great answers. I will share a few with you.
Free software supports education and offers access to possibilities
The fact that there is Open Source Software out there that can easily beat paid solutions in a direct comparison gives people the opportunity to work with them, who don't have access or could not afford the paid version. That makes it extremely accessible for people who want to learn and educate themselves and even make a living out of their skills. Some of the most famous developers started their career in the Open Source community.
Be part of the movement
Getting involved into Open Source is valuable no matter in which stage of learning someone is. Open source will always need more people to participate, and your efforts will be documented throughout your work thanks to the open and public way the work is done.
A first step to get involved is to check out the repositories (for example on GitHub) of the Open Source programs you already use and see if your help is needed. Even if it's just an opinion or helping users that have problems. This could be the single best decision for your future as a developer.